Dog Bites

Dog Bite Attorney

Serving Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego

Law Offices of Kenneth G. Marks in Orange County, CA

One day the mother of an 8 year old boy was referred to Kenneth G. Marks because she was told that Mr. Marks knew how to handle dog bite cases. It was a very sensitive situation. It was Christmas Day and the boy was playing with his cousin's Chow. The dog had never shown any dangerous propensities, but on this occasion he mauled the young boy and tore apart his face. Tensions between the two families resulted from the incident. The boy's mother did not want to sue her sister. She never had to. In relatively short order, Kenneth Marks settled the case with the homeowner insurance carrier for its policy limits and over time, with excellent plastic surgery, you can no longer tell that the boy had ever been bitten. More important, the families still spend Christmas together.

The most recent official survey, conducted more than a decade ago, determined there were 4.7 million dog bite victims annually in the USA. A more recent study showed that 1,000 Americans per day are treated in emergency rooms as a result of dog bites. In 2007 there were 33 fatal dog attacks in the USA. Most of the victims who receive medical attention are children, half of whom are bitten in the face. Dog bite losses exceed $1 billion per year, with over $300 million paid by homeowners insurance.

Studies of dog bite injuries have reported that:

  • The median age of patients bitten was 15 years, with children, especially boys aged 5 to 9 years, having the highest incidence rate
  • The odds that a bite victim will be a child are 3.2 to 1. (CDC.)
  • Children seen in emergency departments were more likely than older persons to be bitten on the face, neck, and head. 77% of injuries to children under 10 years old are facial.
  • Severe injuries occur almost exclusively in children less than 10 years of age.
  • The majority of dog attacks (61%) happen at home or in a familiar place.
  • The vast majority of biting dogs (77%) belong to the victim's family or a friend.
  • When a child less than 4 years old is the victim, the family dog was the attacker half the time (47%), and the attack almost always happened in the family home (90%).

These startling statistics show that this unfortunate situation has worsened over time. Dog bite victims can sustain serious or even catastrophic injuries, including deep skin wounds, loss of fingers, infections and scarring. Dogs that are prone to attack are a liability and the owners need to be held responsible for them.

Kenneth G. Marks has represented numerous clients in California dog bite attack cases over his 29 year career. He uses his best instincts, knowledge and experience to maximize settlements in these cases.

The Deadliest Dogs

Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People, has conducted an unusually detailed study of dog bites from 1982 to the present. (Clifton, Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to November 13, 2006) The Clifton study shows the number of serious canine-inflicted injuries by breed. The author's observations about the breeds and how to deal with the dangerous dog problem are enlightening.

According to the Clifton study, pit bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios and their mixes are responsible for 74% of attacks that were included in the study, 68% of the attacks were upon children, 82% of the attacks upon adults, 65% of the deaths, and 68% of the maimings. In more than two-thirds of the cases included in the study, the life-threatening or fatal attack was apparently the first known dangerous behavior by the animal in question.

Children are most often the victims of serious dog attacks for several reasons. They are boisterous, loud and make unpredictable movements that can scare dogs. And what a child might see as an expression of love, like an affectionate hug, can be an explicit threat to the animal.

California Dog Bite Law

In a California dog bite case, the claimant does not have to prove that the dog was known to be vicious or had a propensity to bite. Dogs don't get "one free bite." Under California law, all the injured person must prove to recover for a dog bite injury is:

  • The defendant owned the dog
  • The dog bit the Plaintiff
  • The Plaintiff was lawfully on the premises where the dog bite took place
  • The dog bite caused the Plaintiff injuries

When a Dog Attacks and Injures Someone, Act Quickly!

It is extremely important to gather evidence as quickly as possible. The best evidence to obtain immediately is the identity of the dog and its owner, photographs of the dog, identity of witnesses, witness statements, and photographs of the injuries and location of the attack. Kenneth G. Marks will hire an investigator and gather evidence quickly to bolster the settlement value of the dog bite case.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a dog bite or animal attack, contact accomplished Orange County dog bite attorney, Kenneth G. Marks, for a free consultation. He will use his 29 years of experience, his knowledge, his instincts and his resources to maximize your settlement.